Saturday, December 22, 2012

On the run

How many times have you stopped this holiday season mid shopping trip because you're so ravenous or you feel shaky, you'd stop anywhere in the world to get your belly fed?

Well, nevermind the nutrition, the savings you can get by packing a snack and a water to accompany you on your shopping trips or long car rides may be a selling point in itself. Stopping at a fast food establishment, coffee shop, restaurant, or even vending machine to hold you over could cost your wallet some serious money!

You're also more likely to over indulge on larger portions, leading to excessive calorie intake. Meals and snacks out tend to be higher in saturated and trans fat. Saturated fat impacts your LDL cholesterol (aka "bad" cholesterol) byy raising it. Trans fat on the other hand is even worse: it raises your LDL cholesterol and lowers your HDL cholesterol (aka "good" cholesterol). Talk about a double whammy!

What are some easy take along snack ideas to pack?
  • Carrot/celery/pepper slices and hummus
  • Apple with peanut butter
  • Trail mix
  • Crackers with peanut butter
  • Almonds
  • Grapefruit with pistachios
  • Banana with peanuts
  • Mini muffin with an orange

If you can keep your food cold with an ice pack, etc...
  • Cheese stick with mini pretzels
  • Yogurt with granola
  • Cheese cubes with crackers
  • Cottage cheese with tomato
Mix and match your favorite on-the-go snacks and let me know your favorites!

Remember, snack-sized resealable bags help to keep portions in control and keep us from eating those 8 or more servings of nuts!

Until next time at the table.  Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Perfect Pomegranates

Pomegranates are certainly gaining publicity and popularity!  They're loaded with folate, vitamin C, vitamin K, and copper.  What will all of these great nutrients do for you?

Folate is an extremely important nutrient, especially for pregnant women.  Recommendations encourage women before and during pregnancy to have 400 mcg daily to prevent neural tube defects.

Vitamin C has been shown to reduce the complications and severities of colds, as well as improve immune function, skin health, and fetal development.  Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, so for those iron-deficient folks, including vitamin C at meals when you're consuming iron helps to make sure your body will absorb iron more efficiently!
     Ex: Have a cup of vitamin-C rich, 100% orange juice in the morning with your iron-fortified cereal.  OR Stir-fry iron-rich white beans with vitamin C-loaded red bell peppers (which actually have twice as much vitamin C as an orange).

Vitamin K is the imporant vitamin that helps our blood clot.  We typically think of "clotting" as a bad thing (especially internally), but our bodies need to clot especially if we experience a cut or scrape.  When you hear vitamin K think Clot.

Copper is found in many foods such as seafood, nuts, cocoa, and organ meats.  This nutrient has been linked to proper bone health and a decrease in bone loss as we age.  Most of us don't have to worry about having a copper deficiency since our bodies need very little of this nutrient, so supplementation is not recommended

This video gives you a great step-by-step guide on how to keep your kitchen and clothes clean while getting those pesky little pomegranate seeds out:

You can find pomegranates for about 2 for $3 during this time of year.  Enjoy them on a salad, as a snack with nuts and seeds, sautéed in some whole grain rice, or sprinkled over some yogurt.  Let me know what you think!